Author Topic: South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)  (Read 209 times)

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Offline Verify-12

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South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)
« on: September 04, 2018, 04:01:10 AM »
I recently noticed that there just might be at least two different varieties of the 1973 South Korean 10-Won coin. This semi-key date coin seems to have something approximating a "small date" and a "large date" variety. In the coin on the left (the "small date"), the "9" curves more, and stops at about the same level as the bottom of the "1." In the "large date" (right), the "9" is straighter and plunges more noticeably below the bottom of the "1." The "7s" also look different, with the top of the small date angled upward, whereas the large date seems straight. You can also see some "machine doubling," if not some actual "doubling" on the back of the "3" in the small date version. If you just eyeball the two coins, side by side, you can see some size/shape difference in the dates... Fascinating...

Offline Figleaf

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Re: South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 10:15:50 AM »
Indeed, the "large date" looks professional, while the "small date" looks sloppy, with the 7 out of whack and what looks like some doubling of all four numbers. It is a bit late for a dateless die system, in which the date is punched on the die at the last moment. A more likely scenario is that the mint expected a reform for a while and made do with old dies, re-cutting the date. Another possibility is one of the infamous frugality drives. I remember elevators being stopped in ministries, so maybe this was enough reason for the mint to dust off and re-use some old dies.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Verify-12

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Re: South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 02:51:53 PM »
Indeed, the "large date" looks professional, while the "small date" looks sloppy, with the 7 out of whack and what looks like some doubling of all four numbers. It is a bit late for a dateless die system, in which the date is punched on the die at the last moment. A more likely scenario is that the mint expected a reform for a while and made do with old dies, re-cutting the date. Another possibility is one of the infamous frugality drives. I remember elevators being stopped in ministries, so maybe this was enough reason for the mint to dust off and re-use some old dies.

Peter
Peter, your insight here was very helpful, as usual!

Yes, those two scenarios are very likely what could have been the cause.  If you mean "reform" as in "currency reform," oh, yes: There were definitely fears of another currency reform in the 1970s, if my reading of the literature on the subject is correct.  But frugality is also a possibility.  Thank you so much for your input!

But it's also that "large date" that get me wondering:  WHO was creating South Korea's tool steel (master dies and coining dies) for this coin?  I only know this:  The first-year (1966) master and working dies were made by John Pinches Co. Ltd. in London, while the first Korean-made master dies were made in 1975 after an heroic effort to do so for the 30th Anniversary of Liberation that year and for the commemorative coin celebrating that anniversary.  And according to the information that I have, the first completely locally-made circulation coins only came in 1982 with the 500-Won coin, and since that time, all South Korean coins have been made in Korea.  I have questions about whether the 1982 Proof Set was made in Korea, but I digress...

Former designer, Jo Byung-soo, and former engraver, Oh Soon-hwan, both intimated in their writing that the Korean Mint had gotten used to pressing coining dies by 1975, but had not yet fabricated a single master die until that year.

However, I still don't know where the dies for these two coins were made.  I know that the Koreans asked the Osaka Mint in Japan for help quite often in this era (the 100-Won and 50-Won coins' master dies were made in Osaka).  Was the "small date" a Korean creation, while the "large date" was made in Japan?  Or were they both made in Korea?  Perhaps the Mint/Bank of Korea was dissatisfied with the "small date" strikes and ordered another, re-made hub to be pressed resulting in the large date?  It could have happened the other way around, too: The "large date" was being used until the hub broke(?) necessitating a "work-around" solution by using an older hub and recut the date?

I would LOVE to find out about this.   Perhaps I will when I register as a journalist with the Bank's information office and hopefully get somebody there to help me access their archives.   Wish me luck!

Offline Figleaf

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Re: South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2018, 12:27:44 AM »
I'd say it's also the other way around. I wouldn't have given either coin a second glance, but your discovery inspired me to think about the final years of the Park regime.

Driving around in darkened Seoul at night because the curfew didn't apply to foreigners, soldiers popping out of the dark, hitting the car with their rifle butts, corrupt, torturing police, Kisaeng, Chaebol, Kerb financing, school children working themselves into desperation but also a disciplined determination to achieve a better life, a giddy conviction that they could make anything (like those coin dies) and the economist in me seeing the progress all the time. It was then and there that the connection between wealth accumulation and longing for a stable and representative democracy dawned on me: everyone had a stake in the economy and the generals and the corruption were in the way.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Verify-12

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Re: South Korean 10-Won Coin Date Varieties (1973)
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2018, 03:12:01 AM »
I'd say it's also the other way around. I wouldn't have given either coin a second glance, but your discovery inspired me to think about the final years of the Park regime.

Driving around in darkened Seoul at night because the curfew didn't apply to foreigners, soldiers popping out of the dark, hitting the car with their rifle butts, corrupt, torturing police, Kisaeng, Chaebol, Kerb financing, school children working themselves into desperation but also a disciplined determination to achieve a better life, a giddy conviction that they could make anything (like those coin dies) and the economist in me seeing the progress all the time. It was then and there that the connection between wealth accumulation and longing for a stable and representative democracy dawned on me: everyone had a stake in the economy and the generals and the corruption were in the way.

Peter

Peter, I think that you really should write a memoir of your time in Korea. 
It was an important era in Korea, and your perspective as a European diplomat/economist in that environment is one that is very interesting to me.  I have greatly benefitted from what you have shared with me here at WOC. 
Cheers...